- Created on 25 January 2013
Nine former African-American contestants have accused reality TV show, "American Idol" of racism and are looking to file a lawsuit.
The artists claimed that they were "forced off" the show to boost ratings among its white audience. According to TMZ, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has received a complaint from Attorney James H. Freeman asking for permission to sue both American Idol and the Fox Network.
Contestants of the complaint are:
Corey Clark (Season 2)
Jaered Andrews (Season 2)
Donnie Williams (Season 3)
Terrell Brittenum (Season 5)
Derrell Brittenum (Season 5)
Thomas Daniels (Season 6)
Akron Watson (Season 6)
Ju'Not Joyner (Season 8)
Chris Golightly (Season 9)
Freeman said suspicions arose when Jermaine Jones was kicked off the show because he failed to inform producers about outstanding warrants for his arrest. Freeman added the show has only disqualified nine contestants publicly in its history, all the contestants being African American.
The biggest attack by Freeman is that the show has never publicly disqualified a non-black contestant throughout the show's eleven seasons of production.
Head of American Idol, Nigel Lythgoe, claims the lawsuit is nonsense.
"We're not sure if it just happens to be the case that all of the disqualified contestants were black, but he should probably try to explain that one," Lythgoe told TMZ. "We treat everybody the same ... no matter the race, religion or sex."
- Created on 23 January 2013
(CNN) -- You might think of Italy's fashion capital when you hear the word Milan, but pop singer Shakira and soccer star Gerard Pique say that isn't what they had in mind when they named their baby boy.
Milan Pique Mebarak was born at 9:36 p.m. Tuesday in Barcelona, Spain, according to an announcement posted on Shakira's website.
"The name Milan (pronounced MEE-lahn), means dear, loving and gracious in Slavic; in Ancient Roman, eager and laborious; and in Sanskrit, unification," the announcement said.
The 35-year-old Colombian singer first revealed her pregnancy in September, canceling a scheduled weekend concert appearance at a music festival in Las Vegas.
Last week, a black-and-white photo on her website showed a pregnant Shakira, wearing a bikini top, standing beside her 25-year-old boyfriend, who plays for Spain's FC Barcelona.
The couple called for donations to UNICEF as part of a "world baby shower" for them to raise money for gifts such as polio vaccines, therapeutic food and rehydration salts "for the benefit of babies everywhere."
While their son isn't on the soccer field yet, on Tuesday, Shakira's website said, "Just like his father, baby Milan became a member of FC Barcelona at birth."
Milan, the couple's first child, weighed approximately 6 pounds, 6 ounces.
"Both mother and child are in excellent health," the announcement said.
CNN's Nelson Quinones contributed to this report.
- Created on 22 January 2013
The NAACP announced today that comedian, author, radio and talk show host, Steve Harvey will host and Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Wanda Sykes and Tony Goldwyn will be part of an all-star line-up to present at the 44th NAACP IMAGE AWARDS. In addition, Dennis Haysbert will be the in-show announcer during the LIVE broadcast from Los Angeles' historic Shrine Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 1, 8-10 p.m. ET (PT tape-delayed) on NBC.
"I'm honored to be hosting the 44th NAACP Image Awards, and celebrate the variety of film, TV, literary, music contributions, and special honorees this year. We're live on stage, got great things in store for the night!" commented Mr. Harvey.
The NAACP Image Awards is the premier multicultural awards show. It celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.
The NAACP Image Awards are being produced by Reginald Hudlin and Brad Lachman. Bill Bracken will serve as Supervising Producer and Byron Phillips as Producer. The production team also includes Tony McCuin as Director and Melanie Massie as the Talent Executive.
Nominees for the NAACP Image Awards are determined by the number of entries received by the deadline. To be eligible, projects must have had a national distribution date between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012. For the 2012 voting period, over 1,200 submissions were received by the artists, managers, publicists, production companies, record labels, studios, networks and/or publishers. From those entries, a nominating committee of 300 industry professionals and NAACP leaders from across the country select five nominees in each of the 53 categories. Those results were announced at a press conference. To determine the winners, the members of the NAACP vote via a secured online site. The results are tabulated by the Image Awards auditors, Bert Smith & Co., and the results are confidential until the envelope is opened LIVE on stage during the NBC telecast on Friday, February 1, 2013.
Event sponsors include: FedEx, UAW/Chrysler, AT&T, Hyundai Motors, Wells Fargo, General Motors, Walmart, Bank of America, Walgreens, Gilead Sciences, AARP, Ford Motor, Anheuser Busch, Pepsico.
For all information and latest news, please visit the official NAACP Image Awards website at http://www.naacpimageawards.net.
- Created on 23 January 2013
Al Green says if things had worked out, it would have been him serenading President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle at the inaugural ball.
Jennifer Hudson sang Green’s classic “Let’s Stay Together,” leaving many to wonder why the soul legend wasn’t singing his own hit for the first couple.
- Created on 22 January 2013
Never has contributing to the delinquency of a minor been so wonderfully tragic and compelling.
Sometimes Woody Watson (Michael Rainey Jr.), an 11-year-old, is a vulnerable kid: “Only one place I have is OK. Inside me where I can hide everything.” Other times he’s a little man, a baby gangsta tuff; one morning he points a squirt gun at a mirror with a scowl on his face, “What you gon’ do? I’m the man, I’ll kill you.”
Woody lives with his grandma (Lonette McKee) at her house in the Baltimore ‘burbs. His Uncle Vincent, nicknamed V (Common), has been “away” for eight years, and he’s shacking there, too. V is caring and nurturing when he’s not acting like a smooth-talking, well-dressed thug. He dreams of opening a high-class crab joint, cause local folks like to eat those indigenous crustaceans. But dreams cost money.
Life changes for Wood the day V lets him skip school so he can show him the ropes, “You with me today. I’m gonna teach you real work s—.” V’s trying to stay on the up and up, but devils from his past tug at him. In the middle of a drug war, a crime lord named Fish (Dennis Haysbert) and his cagey older brother Arthur (Danny Glover) scheme on V. A buddy named Caufield (Charles Dutton) tries to steer him in the right direction, but bad choices and circumstance pull him down harder than gravity.
There is something so disturbing about watching a child being initiated into a life of crime. This daring film does it with gruesome authenticity drawn from true, life experience. Sheldon Candis, director and co-writer, was just 9 years old when he rode shotgun with an older family member who was a purported drug dealer, “During those rides, he would explain to me what it takes to be a man.” But a child can’t really comprehend adulthood; they can’t fathom the consequences of their actions. They just posture. Wood drinks, shoots a gun and scams like a 40-year-old, but he is clueless. You feel for him.
Candis and Justin Wilson’s screenplay starts off almost magical, like urban ghetto fairy dust, then becomes more and more grim as the boy and his uncle descend into a merciless crime world that devours them. V is like the devil, tempting an angel, yet he still has redeeming qualities and he imparts wisdom: He confirms that Wood knows Frederick Douglass taught other slaves to read, right there in Baltimore: “When you think you can’t make it, think about your ancestors ‘cause that’s what’s in your spirit.”
As a director, Candis has perfect instincts for urban storytelling. The gritty atmosphere he creates is so real you can taste the fresh Baltimore crabmeat, smell the streets and you flinch and duck when bullets fly. If you liked the cable series “The Wire,” this is your cup of java. There’s a very refined blend of memorable dialogue, graphic action, silent moments, pained glances and eye-catching visuals. Candis doesn’t overcook the characters or dramatic scenes; he lets them simmer. He gives the actors plenty of time to work their magic. In ways this film feels like an intelligent, artistic character study with a European sensibility.
Portuguese composer Nuno Malo has created a hypnotic score with strained strings and synthesizers. It’s not typical music for an urban tale, but the contrasts works. Some of the cinematography (Gavin Kelly) feels a bit soft almost emitting a blinding cloudy light. It’s too atmospheric when stark realism might have been a better choice
Common has a natural swagger; it helped him become a noted rapper. In this film, the musician becomes an actor capable of emoting and conveying deep feelings. He goes head to head with veteran thespians like Danny Glover (his Arthur is impeccably nuanced), Charles Dutton (sure-footed as ever) and Dennis Haysbert (he should stop doing those insurance commercials and go back to film or theatre so people can be reminded that he is a top-notch actor). If there is a scene-stealer, it is the very endearing and natural Michael Rainey Jr. He has acting chops far beyond his years and turns in a performance that is on par with Quvenzhané Wallis’ in Beast of the Southern Wild. When Rainey Jr. and Common get into their screaming matches, it’s powerful stuff.
V tries to prepare Wood for the worst, “If you show weakness they gon’ get at you.”
Visit Film Critic Dwight Brown at www.DwighBrownInk.com.